Thursday, 26 September 2013

Who is I_PWN_YER_MA_84 (Part ii)

If you haven't yet read Part (i), keep up.

If you have kept up, proceed...

Q: In the last session you talked about your difficult Christmas visits to your parents’ semi-; many great writers thrive in adversity, do ordeals like these inform your work?

A: Work?

Q: Do they inform your works?

A: Not at all. I tend to treat the “breaks” as cultural black holes. I can catch up on what passed for entertainment at the multiplexes 18 months ago,[1] and look over some of my surprisingly insightful pre-emancipation works.

Q: Tell me about some of those?

A: The films are mainstream dross. Catnip for the lumpenproletariat. But I assume you were really asking about my early works.

Q: Yes, your early works?

A: Thank you. Well, one of my finest was, Curse the Temperamental Whims of Your Happiness Meter!!

It was a vital modern-day retelling of the Pygmalion myth wherein a misunderstood young man falls in love with his Tamagotchi™ and persuades an untrustworthy Japanese programmer/para-anatomist to bring it to life.

Obviously it doesn’t go well, but it’s not one of those moralising cautionary tales; it could’ve gone brilliantly if the Japanese guy wasn’t such a sneaky bastard.

Incidentally this was the source of my first cease-and-desist letter. On the advice of a school colleague I ignored it. The idea’s still available if anyone is interested – it’s just a matter of doing a quick “Find and Replace” job to make every “Tamagotchi” a “Digital Pet”[2]. I may bend, Bandai Co. Ltd., but I will not break.

Q: That seems to be a common occurrence with your works –

A: Using the “Find and Replace” function to address major issues which arise after submission of a final draft? It’s a peril of the world in which I operate. Even I cannot have perfect hindsight. Say I’ve already written 48,000 words of a short story in which the heroic figure is named “Durian”, and later discover this is also the name of a vomit-smelling fruit incomprehensibly consumed by choice on the Subcontinent, then I’ll just change his name to “Ga’arth” or something.

Admittedly some of the poems won’t scan quite as well, but it’s just something you have to deal with at the coalface of sci-fantasy.

Q: I was thinking more of the intervention of legal professionals derailing your ideas.

A: Much as there are only seven basic literary plots[3] there are only so many ideas out there, there are bound to be overlaps. Besides, at the time of writing Curse the Temperamental Whims…!! there weren’t that many other electronic husbandry applications out there to choose from. If Bandai were too myopic to hitch their wagon to my star at that early stage, fuck ‘em. Also, did you see their recent Thundercats reboot range? Rubbish.

Anyway, even after I changed all the references to “Digital Pet” everyone still knew what I was talking about.

This falls under Fair Use, Bandai

Q: Do you have any advice for other freelance creators out there?

A: No – I don’t give this stuff out for free.

Q: Well, how about some general principles?

A: Put your copyright on everything. Everything. Even if you’re not sure if it’s your original idea, in fact, especially if you’re not sure if it’s your original idea. I’ll never make that mistake again.

Q: It sounds like you’ve been effected gravely by this in the past.

A: Yes, I was, many times, but never again since late-June 1993. I was at a car-boot sale trying to offload a box of plastic polyhedral dice which were surplus to my requirements since I’d just carved a full expertly-balanced set from wood. I was not given a single offer which could be considered anything but derisory, including at least one inquiry as to why I did not “just chuck them in the bin there, son?”

I remember thinking, aloud, would there was a perfect market where my dice could be sold to a worthy and appreciative purchaser, who later I could also hassle into taking a few of the prototype wooden dice I didn’t want. Perhaps, I thought, still aloud, this propitious development that is The WorldWide Web could offer an arena for aforesaid market.

Just 2 years later, eBay was launched. Was Pierre Omidyar or one of his poly-national familiars present in Avoniel Leisure Centre car park and in earshot of my visionary idea? Probably.

And to think I could’ve prevented a lot of seething and resentment simply by cupping my hands in front of my shoulders in imitation of parentheses and saying the words “Copyright 1993”.

I blame myself, I was young and foolish, and probably thinking about the impending release of Jurassic Park.

They were so confident about the film that they put hardcore
archaeological-brushing scenes in the trailer. In the trailer.

[1] My parents still haven’t splashed out beyond the basic Sky+ package.

[2] I object vehemently to the abbreviation “Digi-Pet”. It just sounds stupid.

[3] I can think of at least 4 more, but I’m not going to go into them here in case some other bugger steals them off me.

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